3 Ways to Cook With Garlic

From the WebMD Archives

Glorious garlic is worth the less-than-sweet breath. The so-called "stinking rose" not only tastes divine, but also could help prevent disease.

One study of people from 10 European countries linked eating more garlic and onions with lower levels of intestinal cancers. Research also suggests that garlic prevents hardening of the arteries and lowers blood pressure, though more research is needed, says K. Simon Yeung, PharmD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Many of garlic's benefits come from allicin, a compound responsible for the sharp smell and flavor. "This is garlic's defense mechanism if it's attacked by worms or other animals," Yeung explains. "When garlic cells are crushed, they release an enzyme called alliinase that activates allicin," deterring tiny predators. 

To get the full benefits of allicin chop or crush garlic and let it sit 5 to 10 minutes before cooking, Yeung says.

Spice & Easy

Give dinner kicky Creole flair with this spicy shrimp dish. Serve it with a leafy green salad and a loaf of whole-grain bread.

Spicy Cajun Garlic Shrimp

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced (about 3 tbsp or more)

2 lbs raw peeled and deveined shrimp (about 25-30)

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 large lemon, zested and juiced

1 tsp smoked paprika

¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1 tsp low-sodium Creole seasoning

2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced

½ cup white wine

freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter, add olive oil, and sauté garlic until just lightly browned, 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until pink, about 1-2 minutes. Remove shrimp from heat and cover to keep warm.

2. Increase heat to medium-high. Add Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and zest, paprika, cayenne pepper (if desired), Creole seasoning, rosemary, wine, and pepper. Cook 5-7 minutes until liquid is slightly thickened. Reduce heat to medium and briefly return shrimp to pan to marry flavors, about 2 minutes. Do not overcook shrimp. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 261 calories, 31 g protein, 6 g carbohydrate­, 11 g fat (4 g saturated­ fat), 237 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 376 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 37%

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Noodle Around

You can't beat the simplicity or flavor of this perfect pasta dish. Pulverize the garlic with a garlic press, or mince it finely with a knife. Serve this pasta as a side dish with chicken or fish, or turn it into a main course topped with grilled scallops or grilled chicken.

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Pasta

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

3 lbs Roma tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces

⅓ cup olive oil

10 cloves of garlic, pressed or finely minced

½ tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)

½ tsp sea salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

8 oz whole wheat angel hair pasta

½ cup chopped fresh basil

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. In an 8-by-11 glass baking dish, toss to combine tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Roast 45 minutes or until tomatoes are lightly browned on the edges.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, and toss with garlic tomatoes and basil. Serve immediately.

Per serving (without chicken): 275 calories, 7 g protein, 36 g ­carbohydrate, 13 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 2 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 206 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 42%

Souper Bowl

This Tuscan-inspired soup offers the benefits of garlic as well as onions and shallots. Roasting the garlic delivers a mellow flavor ideal for people who dislike its pungent taste.

Roasted Garlic and White Bean Soup

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

2 large heads of garlic

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 large onion, chopped

1 large shallot, finely chopped

3 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 (15-oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and ­thoroughly rinsed

4 cups low-sodium chicken stock

freshly ground pepper

¼ tsp sea salt

2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped, with additional sprigs for garnish

½ cup half-and-half

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Remove most of the papery layers from the 2 garlic heads, leaving heads intact and cloves connected. With a sharp knife, trim ¼ inch off the top of the head, exposing part of the cloves. Drizzle 1 tsp of olive oil over each head. Wrap garlic heads in aluminum foil and place on a cookie sheet. Roast 35-40 minutes or until tender. Let cool slightly. Extract the garlic from its papery shell by pressing on the bottom of the head, under each clove. Set garlic aside.

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2. Heat a heavy-bottom pot over medium-high heat. Add remaining olive oil, onion, and shallot. Cook, stirring, until onion starts to brown and caramelize. Add celery and cook 5 more minutes. Add roasted garlic, beans, chicken stock, pepper, salt, and chopped thyme. Bring soup to a simmer and cook 10 minutes until ingredients are soft.

3. Using an immersion blender or food processor, purée soup until smooth and return it to the pot. Add half-and-half, and warm gently over low heat. Garnish with sprigs of thyme and serve.

Per serving: 220 calories, 14 g protein, 35 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 7 mg cholesterol, 7 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 188 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 15%

--Recipes by Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

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WebMD Magazine - Feature Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on September 1, 2015

Sources

SOURCES:

K. Simon Yeung, PharmD, Integrative Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: “Garlic”

National Cancer Institute: “Garlic and Cancer Prevention.”

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: “Garlic.”

Oregon State University, Linus Pauling Institute, Micronutrient Information Center: “Garlic.”

World Health Organization: “Bulbus Allii Sativi.”

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